—Says FG is considering the quantum of a pay rise
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Abuja
Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, on Tuesday, assured that the threat by the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, to shut down activities at all the branches of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, over naira scarcity, has been arrested.
The Minister also said that the issue of pay rise for workers is being addressed, adding that the main thing now is the quantum of the pay rise.
This is as he has said that no one can stop migration and that there is migration from one continent to the other.
The NLC had directed all its chapters across the country to mobilize for a protest at all the branches of the CBN over the scarcity of naira that has brought untold hardship to the citizens.
However, the CBN delegation led by its governor, Godwin Emefiele and the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, led by its President, Comrade Joe Ajaeo on Monday evening met with the minister in a bid to avert the strike.
But appearing on the weekly Ministerial Briefing, organised by the Presidential Communication Team at the State House, Abuja, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Ngige, disclosed that dialogues, coordinated by his ministry, had happened and the CBN had taken steps to remedy the situation.
The Minister, who was accompanied by the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, the Permernent Secretary, Kachollon Daju and other senior officials of the Ministry, said as at the moment, the issue to be discussed by NLC in National Executive Council meeting would no longer be issues of protest, which he said had already been apprehended.
According to him, “Now they have all answered our calls because we are the Chief Conciliators. In my opening remark I said I’ve noticed that there’s already a dialogue going on and there’s also implementation and the Nigerian Labour Congress agreed that there was some thawing at the surface of the icing that was there.
“They said they will call up their National Executive Council meeting because the initial decision to give that ultimatum was given by this same Council. Members of the Council reside in the states and in the local governments, so that they will come up today, which is Tuesday, the 28th, to review the situation because much as it is, the important thing is that we have emphasised to them that we have apprehended this dispute.
“By Section 7:8 of Trade Dispute Act, once the Minister apprehends and starts conciliation on it, you maintain status quo ante bellum. So they have gone back now to review the situation. If they’re not satisfied with what they’re see, they will come back to me and I’ll invite the CBN again.
“But for now, the issue of discussion is no longer strike, the issue of discussion is implementation and how far it’s gone and how far it affects Nigerian workers and the general population.
“So that is it, the final decision will be done today by NEC and they will then do a resolution, of course, inform me and CBN what their resolution is. But like I said, we have apprehended and we are now conciliating”, he assured.
Senator Ngige said the issue of pay rise for the Nigerian workers is being addressed and that the issue going on now is the quantum of money for the pay raise.
He also said that the amount to be paid will be based on the availability of funds and the ability to pay.
On the migration of Nigerian professionals to another country, Senator Ngige said nobody would stop migration.
According to him, “There is migration from one continent to the other. I am not against migration.”
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